Pacification

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This photo-essay by documentarian Luiz Baltar was first published on RioOnWatch.org and is republished with permission. I have never accepted the term “pacification,” adopted as a slogan by the government and repeated all over the media. By consensus, peace is a desired state of mind and something that can be achieved individually or collectively. It […]

GONDOLA MANIA

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“Pacified, the German Complex Will Now Have Sightseeing Tours.” Named in reference to a Polish immigrant who settled in the area almost a hundred years ago and was nicknamed “the German” by locals, Rio’s Complexo de Alemão – or German Complex  – made local and international headlines in 2012 for two seemingly unrelated reasons: a […]

Jacare dos Patins

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Jacare dos Patins, (literally, “the Skate Alligator”), blowing your mind at the Batalha do Passinho in the City of God. You read that right. Passinho is a new wave dance battle culture coming out of Rio de Janeiro. Like funk (and samba long before that) passinho comes out of Rio’s favelas, but it’s very much a […]

Prazeres

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“It’s a pleasure to be in Prazeres” – damn straight. Head up the mountain towards Christ the Redeemer, past Santa Teresa, take a right when you see this guy and you are in a place called Prazeres. Prazeres means “pleasures” in Portuguese. Street art everywhere. This smurf fresco represents Rio’s soccer rivalry in four parts. Fluminense […]

Prazeres Street Art

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Prazeres is a favela up the road from Santa Teresa, with ridiculous views and even more ridiculous street art. Prazeres means “pleasures” in Portuguese. Nação means “nation.” 45 local artists paint the streets chromatic in partnership with the FLUPP lit festival. Start here. The mural reads left to right.                 Original photography by […]

Rio Photographic

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“Visions from on high. The hilltop casts its pespective on the city. Youth living in pacified communities in Rio present their perceptions in O Meu Rio Fotográfico.” O Meu Rio Fotográfico is now on exhibit at Largo das Artes in downtown Rio. The view looking out. Photographs by thirty-four photography students from favelas across the city. Opening day. […]

CastleRock SexyFunk

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Rio’s new police forces may have shut down the famed funk parties in Vidigal and Rocinha, but the Sunday night funk party in Rio das Pedras has been going hard for years.   Since Rio’s pacification forces (UPP) have been retaking control of strategically located and highly visible favelas like Vidigal and Rocinha from drug traffickers, they’ve […]

This is a Favela

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  Favela does not mean “slum,” and contrary to what you might read in ESPN, the entire city of Rio is not big blazing war zone. Favela has no direct translation, but the proper word these days is “community,” and a full third of Rio’s 6 million citizens live in “communities,” probably more if there […]

Favela Melodrama

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Let’s call this genre favela melodrama.   In Deadly Games, ESPN writer Wright Thompson swings from a helicopter and wonders what it’s like to be shot at in a post-apocalyptic picture of Rio de Janeiro gang warfare that literally opens with a burning cross and ends with a reference the devil. Favela melodrama, popularized by Brazilian […]